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AUS Press: Tortoise wins race of life

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Thu Dec 24 12:10:53 2009  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (Australia) 22 December 09 Tortoise wins race of her life (Erik Jensen)
In a last-minute reprieve, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water has decided not to kill an endangered tortoise its officers had said they would destroy today.
The African spurred tortoise, the only one of its kind in Australia, was left in front of the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford this month. It was healthy and attached to its box was a simple note: ''Please take care of me.''
But when the zoo contacted the state authorities to begin the process of quarantine for the tortoise, it was told it would have to be killed. Disease was a concern. The reptile's origin was unknown.
''This is an illegally internationally trafficked animal,'' the department said.
Rangers were to arrive today to take the tortoise. Yesterday its keepers were saying their final goodbyes. It was domesticated and they had grown attached to it.
''I can't understand it,'' the zoo's general manager, Mary Rayner, told the Herald.
''There are quite a few tears at the thought of this happening. We can't stop the rangers. They will request the animal and they will take it.''
But then the department changed its mind. After being contacted by the Herald, a spokesman telephoned the zoo to say the tortoise was safe.
''We're so excited and so thankful,'' the tortoise's keeper, Liz Vella, said. ''She is a very affectionate tortoise.''
Zoo staff have called the tortoise Libby, short for Liberty. She is likely to be in quarantine for 90 days, after which she is expected to go on public display.
Tortoise wins race of her life


   

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